All Augusta senior Destiny Williams needed to see was one pitch by Topeka Hayden’s Hayley Banister to know that the Orioles’ offense would be just fine in the Class 4A softball quarterfinals.
It was a calming realization, especially after Augusta quickly fell behind by giving up three runs in the top of the first inning.
“We all got nervous once they scored three in the first inning, but from the first pitch she threw, we all knew it was our game,” Williams said. “She was a decent pitcher. She didn’t move the ball around a lot, but her speed was perfect.”
Augusta nearly gave up an eight-run lead but beat Hayden 12-9. Augusta (22-0) advances to Friday’s semifinal against Pratt (18-4) at 11 a.m.
The Orioles’ defense struggled in the first and Hayden made it pay with those three runs.
“The kids came into the dugout saying, ‘We’re fine. There’s a lot of softball to play, there’s a lot of innings to play,’ ” Augusta coach Shane Steinkamp said.
With one out in the first, Williams took a pitch to the center-field fence for a double and the Orioles went on to score two runs.
Augusta’s No. 2 hitter, Williams added two-run homers in the second and fourth innings and an RBI single in the sixth. She was 4 for 4 with five RBIs and four runs.
“She’s done a lot of great things for us this year,” Steinkamp said. “This is a kid that has really worked hard. We’ve had her in three, four different positions to try to make sure we fit her in the lineup where we may or may not need her. She’s hit .380, .400 all year, but today she just woke up.
“Sometimes you just don’t ask that question why. She never has had the power numbers, but today she found the power.”
Augusta also got a home run from center fielder Kalie Robinson.
Augusta led 12-4 after six, but Hayden started to hit Augusta pitcher Brooke Eberhardt in the seventh.
Eberhardt walked the first batter, then gave up six hits over the next seven batters as Hayden went through its lineup.
“I was getting kind of frustrated, but I tried to hide it because they were hitting it,” Eberhardt said. “I hit my spots, but they hit it in the gap.”
Steinkamp was close to pulling Eberhardt, but he refused to focus on the shaky finish.
“This time of year, it wasn’t a good way to finish,” he said. “Tomorrow is a new day, a new team.”
Pratt 10, Frontenac 4 — The test for Pratt came in the first inning when Frontenac pitcher Lindsey Gorham hit a two-out, two-run homer for the game’s first runs.
After the game, that’s what Pratt coach Mike Forshee focused on with his team.
“I told the girls, probably the best part of it was, girl hits it out, good hitter, gives them a 2-0 lead, they’ve got a lot of energy,” Forshee said. “We didn’t let it faze us. We just kept plugging away.”
Pratt sophomore Savanah Buntemeyer tied the score with a two-run homer in the third, and senior Kinzie Spurgin followed with a two-out, two-run double for the 4-2 lead.
The Greenbacks added four more runs in the top of the fifth when freshman Breann Becker hit a grand slam for the 8-2 lead.
“Hitting is contagious,” Forshee said.
It didn’t hurt that Pratt pitcher Brittnee Hill struck out 12.
Paola 10, Mulvane 4 – Figuring out what went wrong for Mulvane (14-6) in its loss to Paola (22-0) wasn’t too hard for coach Charlie Mason.
“We didn’t hit the ball,” said Mason of his team, which had three hits. “We knew what they were going to do, then they threw their second pitcher against us, and we were kind of prepared for their first one. We just fundamentally didn’t do what we were supposed to do. We couldn’t lay off the rise ball, and that hurt us at times.”
Mulvane scored three runs in the first inning, but only had two hits and scored two runs on wild pitches.
But the Wildcats couldn’t slow Paola’s offense, which had 13 hits.
“They’re a good hitting team, and we couldn’t make plays,” Mulvane pitcher Destynee Donaldson said. “They’re the best hitting team we saw.”
Augusta 12, T. Hayden 9
|Hayden||300||001||5||—||9 14 1|
|Augusta||221||304||x||—||12 19 2|
W — Eberhardt. L — Banister. HR — Hayden, Shafer; Augusta, Williams (2).
Paola 10, Mulvane 4
|Mulvane||300||010||0||—||4 3 3|
|Paola||250||300||x||—||10 13 0|
W — McMullin. L — Donaldson. HR — Mulvane, Laudan.
Pratt 10, Frontenac 4
|Pratt||004||040||2||—||10 12 1|
|Frontenac||200||100||1||—||4 9 1|
W — Hill. L — Gorham. HR — Pratt, Becker, Buntemeyer; Frontenac, Gorham.